Michael Schmidt Faces Possible 10 Years In Prison

International Legal Defense Funding Requested to Help Court Costs for Michael Schmidt

In recent news, Michael Schmidt faces ongoing legal harassment for running his dairy operation in Ontario Canada. But, it is not technically his dairy operation that has him facing 10 years in prison.

In writing about this case, bloggers note that:

Sometimes it is someone’s humility that has the greatest impact on us rather boisterous heroics. Such is the case with Ontario farmer Michael Schmidt. For 21 years, Schmidt has peacefully run his farm and provided his community with fresh, nourishing foods including raw milk. Schmidt produces raw dairy products for a group of families who want these foods and go to great lengths to obtain them.

In a recent article about Michael Schmidt, it states:

“In fact, these families have actually purchased the farm from Schmidt and his wife, Elisa, in an attempt to avoid violating the law. Absurdly, Canadian law outlaws raw milk distribution. It is legal for farmers to drink raw milk from their own animals, but not to distribute it. Schmidt claims that it is his natural right to peacefully farm and to provide clean, wholesome food to his community, so he continues to milk the cows and make the products available to the community of farm owners. Ontario’s Ministry of Natural Resources and Forestry (MNRF) and other Canadian agencies, both federal and local, continue to harass him for this peaceful act.”

Rather than responding to the antagonism in kind, Michael calls on the strength of character to search for a positive outcome despite the Canadian government attempting to escalate it. As the government continues to treat Michael like a violent criminal, Michael remains peaceful.

“Schmidt continues to challenge the government on its authority to criminalize him and his community over milk. This past summer, the government escalated its harassment of him and the farm owners, by planting surveillance cameras on the road by the property to spy on anyone entering or leaving the farm. Schmidt discovered the cameras and publicly questioned who put them there and why. A concerned neighbor removed the cameras, leading to theft charges against Schmidt.

When he reported to the police station for identification, authorities demanded that he submit to fingerprinting – a procedure not required for the type of offense he was charged with. When he refused, he was jailed overnight, before being forcibly fingerprinted in the morning and set free. Meanwhile, around this time the MNRF and a multi-agency task force conducted multiple raids on his farm and delivery vehicle.

During one farm raid, farm owners, concerned neighbors and community members blocked the driveway and prevented the government from removing thousands of dollars’ worth of food and farm equipment. The government then said that the peaceful activists were promoting “anti-government” sentiment. Five people present at that raid have been charged by the West Grey Police for ‘obstructing police.’”

His raw milk politics have him in hot water, but the 10-year prison term is over the sheep case he became embroiled in over 3 years ago. It takes a lot to dispel the government of the notion that peaceful people should go to prison for saving harmless animals from abuse, nonetheless, that is what Michael is facing. We have a chance to help his legal defense through a fundraising effort that now seeks a final push past the initial limit so that the team supporting him can make the best possible effort to keep this modern milk hero free and farming.

Donate to their legal expenses. All donations at this link go to the Canadian Constitution Foundation in support of Michael and Montana’s legal fees.

Follow the cases on the Facebook groups page.

The original fund set up by the CCF shows that it is fully funded. However, with the additional charges and the pre trial hearings taking many months, they are in dire need to legal funding immediately and ongoing. In an effort to save a farm, save a farmer and save a family, please donate what you can and remain involved in this case as we watch the dramatic impact that true humility can have on a community.

To learn more about raw milk and other nutrient dense foods, visit westonaprice.org


Food Freedom Movement Spreading State to State

In March 2015, Wyoming passed its Food Freedom Act, a groundbreaking law that deregulates many homegrown farm foods sold direct-to-consumer. Wyoming State Representative Tyler Lindholm, who co-sponsored the bill, predicted that farmers in the state would immediately feel positive impacts from the changes in regulation.

So how has it been going?

Lindholm says, “Wyoming’s first season under the Wyoming Food Freedom Act was one of bounty without a doubt…the results have been exactly what we all knew already. The free market will thrive if given the chance…I’ve talked with several Farmers Markets and their managers and have found the numbers being reported as doubling the number of consumers and produces in a multitude of products.”

Wyoming’s success is apparently inspiring other states, including Utah, to consider their own food freedom bills.

Read more via Reason.com.

To learn more about raw milk and other nutrient dense foods, visit westonaprice.org


D.C. Foodies Deprived of Delicious Raw Milk Cheeses

In the United States, any “raw” milk cheeses sold must be aged for 60 days (with heavier restrictions on other soft cheeses, like brie), according to requirements by the U.S. Food & Drug Administration (FDA). A recent DCist article interviews cheese connoisseurs and other foodies in the Washington D.C. area about why they prefer raw milk cheeses.

Amy Gomez, regional specialty coordinator for Whole Foods who oversees the mid-Atlantic region’s cheese program, says that raw milk cheeses often have a “more well rounded flavor profile, more complex” – as the live cultures found in raw milk cheeses can deepen the flavor.

Mike Bowers, owner of Bowers Fancy Dairy Products in Washington D.C.’s trendy Eastern Market, points out that the FDA’s restrictions is preventing American consumers from experiencing “a lot of really great European cheese.”

Thankfully, the article notes, there are a few sources where avid foodies can get the favored products including a small buying club, Grassfed on The Hill and, outside the district, P.A. Bowen Farmstead.

Read more via DCist.

To learn more about raw milk and other nutrient dense foods, visit westonaprice.org


Breakthrough in Microbiology Testing Will Reduce Spoilage and Save Money for Global Dairy Industry

Oculer Technology, an Irish dairy tech company, has revealed a ground-breaking detection system that can identify thermoduric bacteria in as little as 24 hours, down from the global standard of 72 hours. Thermoduric bacteria is naturally occurring and can survive the pasteurization process, resulting in early spoilage and reduced protein concentrations.

According to Farming Life, this development could “…save the dairy industry in Ireland up to €200 million annually through reduced farmer penalties, superior product shelf-life and enhanced protein concentration.” Not only can early detection reduce early spoilage of products to increase their shelf-life, but it can also eliminate the bacteria entirely in other milk-related products like milk powder to be used in baby formula.

Oculer is already working with dairy industries in other countries, including New Zealand, to implement this testing technology and has the potential to reach dairy markets across the globe.

To learn more about raw milk and other nutrient dense foods, visit westonaprice.org


Texas Farmer Found Guilty of Distributing Raw Milk

Eldon Hooley, a dairy farmer in Fort Worth, Texas, has been found guilty of operating a food establishment that was selling food from an unapproved source – charges that stemmed from a May 2014 raid of Hooley’s truck that was delivering raw milk to customers off the farm. In Texas, sales of raw milk are only legal on the farm itself.

Furthermore, at the time of the raid, Hooley’s license to sell raw milk had been suspended because his milk had tested positive for the bacteria Yersinia, which is required for testing in the state of Texas and penalties for testing positive usually result in the loss of two weeks’ worth of sales.

According to the Farm-to-Consumer Legal Defense Fund, the Fort Worth city code classifies vehicles as “food establishments” and “…the city claimed that the containers were from an unapproved source since Hooley’s license was under suspension at the time of the raid.”

As a result of his guilty verdict, Hooley has been ordered to pay $1,500 in fines and an additional $67 in court costs. Hooley has not yet decided whether to appeal.

Read more details about Hooley’s trial, verdict, and responses from the public via the Farm-to-Consumer Legal Defense Fund.

To learn more about raw milk and other nutrient dense foods, visit westonaprice.org


Massachusetts Farm Bureau Federation Backs Farm-Friendly Bills for 2015-16 Legislative Session

The Massachusetts Farm Bureau Federation is backing 15 bills in the 2015-16 legislative session that are friendly to small farms, removing red tape that is harmful to their small businesses.

Currently, Massachusetts state law allows raw milk to be sold to consumers on the farm, but Bill S.419 proposes allowing farmers to deliver raw milk to consumers – a change that would bolster sales.

Other changes that would result from these bills being passed include state standards for humane treatment of livestock, the creation of a farm-friendly plumbing code, the creation of a committee to protect honeybees, and easing the process of opening slaughterhouses.

Read more via Mass Live.

To learn more about raw milk and other nutrient dense foods, visit westonaprice.org


Raw Milk Bill Officially Introduced in Wisconsin

As promised, Wisconsin Representative David Murphy (R-Greenville) has introduced a bill that would legalize the sale of unpasteurized milk and dairy products, when sold directly to consumers on the farm.

Previous attempts to change raw milk legislation were drafted in 2013 and 2014; both bills failed to make it to a vote on the state legislature floor. Wisconsin, “the heart of American’s dairy land,” is seemingly one of the most difficult states to pass raw milk-friendly regulations due to its Big Dairy presence and reputation.

Read more about the controversy and the proposed bill here.

To learn more about raw milk and other nutrient dense foods, visit westonaprice.org


Virginia Bill Proposed to Legalize Raw Milk Sales

A new controversial Virginia bill, House Bill 1461, would allow state farmers to sell raw milk if they own three or less milking cows.

Currently, cow shares are legal in Virginia, but the change in regulations would help small, local dairies improve their businesses. The bill “Exempts persons who own three or fewer milking cows from the oversight of the Milk Commission and the Board of Agriculture and Consumer Services’ requirements governing the quality, grading, and sanitary standards for milk so long as the milk their cows produce is sold directly to consumers and contains a label stating that the product has not been inspected by the state.”

While some will fight against the bill in the name of public health, others, including many of the state’s small dairy farmers, will speak up against this attack on small farms and try to share accurate raw milk safety facts with their legislators and the public.

To learn more about raw milk and other nutrient dense foods, visit westonaprice.org


New England Lawmakers Submit Comments Against USDA’s Potential Restrictions on Raw Milk Cheeses

Both federal and state lawmakers have spoken out against the U.S. Food & Drug Administration’s (USDA) quest to tighten restrictions on the sale of raw milk cheeses, arguing that the restrictions could make it difficult for small, local artisan cheesemakers to stay in business.

Lawmakers from Vermont and New Hampshire have joined together to write a letter to FDA Deputy Commissioner Michael Taylor, arguing that the change in standards “could ban many age-old recipes for raw milk cheese and severely harm artisan cheese producers” in New England.

US State Senators Patrick Leahy (D-VT) and Bernie Sanders (D-VT), Vermont Congressman Peter Welch (D-VT-AL), US State Senators Jeanne Shaheen (D-NH) and Kelly Ayotee (R-NH), and New Hampshire Congresswoman Ann McLane Kuster (D-NH, 2nd district) all signed the letter.

“Cheese production is an important, and growing, component of our nation’s value-added agricultural economy,” the lawmakers wrote. “It is an economic driver in rural areas across the country, producing good jobs, internationally-recognized brands, and award-winning cheeses.”

One Vermont-based cheesemaker added, “…we are not asking for ‘less’ regulation, we are asking for ‘good’ regulation that is developed transparently and based on solid science.”

The lawmakers and local dairy farmers join the Weston A. Price Foundation in submitting comments to the USDA opposing the unnecessary change in restrictions.

Read more via The Hill and Valley News.

To learn more about raw milk and other nutrient dense foods, visit westonaprice.org


Weston A. Price Foundation Fights USDA On Raw Milk Cheese Restrictions

The Weston A. Price Foundation (WAPF) has petitioned the U.S. Food & Drug Administration (USDA) to ease its pursuit of stricter, unnecessary restrictions on raw milk cheeses.

In August 2015, the USDA invited the public to submit commentary on “potential intervention measures to reduce the risk of foodborne illness” stemming from unpasteurized cheeses.

Along with its comments to the USDA, WAPF included lengthy scientific research on the safety of unpasteurized cheeses, and pointed out that most of the outbreaks attributed to these cheeses come from raw, unaged cheeses – which are illegal to sell in this country. In other countries, some cheeses produced from raw milk are a popular export and cultural staple, like Italy’s Parmigiano Reggiano, which can only legally bear that name if it is made from raw milk.

Read more about what Weston A. Price Foundation President Sally Fallon Morell has to say on the issue in the organization’s official press release here.

To learn more about raw milk and other nutrient dense foods, visit westonaprice.org